Issue nr. 198
Tuesday, April 5th 2022


This week  has seen an increasing number of Covid infections reported and it is now difficult to buy test kits. Well, so far my wife and I are free "fingers crossed" and here is another issue, number 198.

The main report this week is from the recent event at Detling where three contributors have supplied pictures which cover the event in detail. Thanks to Andrew Webb, Gary Seamarks and Tony Bungay.

Jack Cooper has provided his usual weekly contribution which always adds much to this page.

Jack's picture of Airline 40 at Gloucester Green with the snow falling records the weather variety in the past week.
Taken on March 31st.

A slightly unusual view of 6 road bus 667 on March 30th.

Thames Travel's 906 is seen on April 3rd in Abingdon where the weather had changed again.

This week we have contributions from outside our area including Portsmouth in pictures, a link to a visit to Plymouth and The Hope Valley in Derbyshire.

Also we have notes of changes to services in Buckinghamshire affecting Arriva and reductions in Oxfordshire.

Detling Showground

Andrew Webb

Spirit of Sussex is the private hire division of Go Ahead Brighton and Hove.  On display in the South East Bus Show at Detling on 2 April was this former Oxford Plaxton Panther Volvo B11R, AF14OXF, resplendent in fleet livery.  Delivered new to Oxford in 2014 for the 'airline' service linking the city with Heathrow and Gatwick, the service was either suspended or reduced significantly as passenger numbers at both airports during the pandemic.  Until transferred to Sussex the vehicle spent time working route 11Xin Oxford as seen on 3 June 2021.


2022, like many other years, gives bus operators to mark anniversaries with special liveries.

Uno started as Universitybus in 1992 as an inter campus shuttle for the University of Hertfordshire, a function it continues 30 years later despite having expanded significantly to serve an area stretching from Northamptonshire to north London under the 'Uno' brand. 

To mark the anniversary this Wright Volvo has received special '30 years and counting' branding, seen here on display at the South East Bus Show at Detling on 2 April. 

This bus is one of a batch Uno acquired from Dawson rentals following a spell working for Arriva in Malta. 
It is seen pausing outside Marks and Spencer in Sliema on 29 December 2014. 

Ensignbus is 20 years older than Uno, having started in 1972, and is still run by the Newman family.  Having operated a variety of bus services alongside the famous dealership, the modern Ensignbus operates a well regarded network of services around Thurrock as well as being prolific on rail replacement.  The company also operates a large fleet of immaculate heritage vehicles. 

To mark the 50th anniversary this Wright Volvo has been repainted into this gold livery,
making its public debut at the South East Bus Show at Detling on 2 April.

The most significant anniversary of 2022 is the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, an anniversary which is unlikely to be repeated by any of the current heirs to the British Throne. 

Several operators are marking the Queen's 70 years of service with special liveries.  Three were on display at the South East Bus Show at Detling on 2 April. 

Stagecoach South have this Enviro 400 MMC in a Platinum variant of the latest Stagecoach 'local' livery.

Reading Buses
have also selected an Enviro 400 MMC as the canvas for their Platinum livery. 

Go Coach have adorned this Enviro 200 MMC to mark the occasion, one of a batch recently acquired from Abellio in London.
It retains both the dual door layout and former operator's fleet number.

When London Country was formed from the country operations of London Transport in 1970 the dedicated 'Fast Track' bus service linking Dartford, Greenhithe and Bluewater was just a figment of a bus planner's imagination.  

Until the start of this month Go Coach operated the short lived AZ service over the Fast Track, alongside Arriva who run the main services.  

With Arriva's Streetlite and Go Coach's Enviro 400 both entered for display in the South East Bus Show on 2 April
the opportunity was taken to pose the two side by side.

Both operators marked the 50th anniversary of the formation of London Country by repainting a vehicle into the green and yellow livery initially used before National Bus Company green became the norm.  

Kent County Council plan for the next generation of Fast Track buses to be electric.  During the summer it is planned to operate this Volvo electric bus in service on Arriva's routes. 

Seen at the same show, it has MCV bodywork on Volvo's new BZL chassis and is the only single deck example. 
It will, therefore, provide useful operational data to both Arriva and Volvo.

Low floor Dennis Darts, once considered 'modern' buses are now at least 16 years old, having been replaced in 2006 by the Enviro 200. 

Several preserved examples were at the South East Bus Show on 2 April, outnumbering the number of preserved RFs and Leyland Nationals on display. 

The Plaxton Pointer body was the most common version of the SLF chassis, with two versions produced. 

Local operator Maidstone and District took this now preserved example, the livery recalling an era when low floor step free access was a key marketing message. 
The blind promotes the 3 April charity running day centred on Lewes which raised funds for the Ukraine relief appeal 

Former London SLD359 heads a trio of preserved Stagecoach Pointer 2 examples, with former Peterborough AE51VFX and Fleetbuzz AE51VFV behind.

Stagecoach also took large numbers of Alexander ALX200 bodied Darts, including SLD329. 

It bears the remnants of the 
City Motor Omnibus Co Ltd applied when operated by Ensignbus.

Metrobus operated relatively unusual Caetano Nimbus Dart SLFs, 379 being a preserved example
recalling days spent operating the company's Redhill - Sutton route.

Also now preserved is former Go Ahead London General MAL15, one of the batch of Mercedes Citaro 'bendy buses' which took over the Red Arrow network in May 2002. 

Seen in the sun at the South East Bus Show on 2 April,
the same bus is seen when new at Waterloo garage on 1 June 2002 and in Bournemouth on 30 August 2013.

Gary Seamarks

Detling was a good spring opener, although Very cold when the sun went in we escaped the white stuff all day till we got back to Hertfordshire !.

The Jubilee buses added to the event, but for me the star was the Silver Star Atlantean, after over 130 rallies since the late 1970's this was the first time that our paths crossed !

Other pictures from Gary are included below.


One noticed that Finnair never flew to Istanbul from London, maybe next time  we will see TAP Lisbon?

Reading and Stagecoach South side by side!

This surely must be a real oddity and matches those Routemaster converted to normal drive by Northern many years ago.

Tony Bungay

I went to the show at Detling on April 2nd and as you can see it was a nice bright day, though at times the placing of the sun made photography slightly difficult, must not complain as although chilly it was a very pleasant day to the awfulness of 48 hours previously!

Photos are self explanatory.

London Country retro liveries seem to be in vogue at the moment, with Arriva and Go-Coach. Sullivan buses seem to have adopted a similar style, that was shown at Showbus last year, and fleetingly appears in the latest Lloyds bank advert.

If the next edition had been due April the 1st I would have been tempted to add that the cut down Routemaster, was one operators attempt to adapt to reduced passengers!

It is actually on a trailer for a company called Expeditional that offers Bus Driving experiences.

It’s Leyland National 50 years, there were four here, but could not get the Southdown one in.

Arriva were well represented as seen in these pictures.

.... and the training and fleet examples.

Electric representation - abellio 3415.

Some of the last Olympians were those with Capital Citybus.

Another East Kent was this AEC Regent PFN874.

London buses were lighter on the ground than usual.

Fleet Buzz livery covered this Dart.

Recovery comes in all shapes and sizes.

This Lioness used to be owned by Colin Shears in the West of England and I can claim to have driven this in Exeter. Ed.

So very many thanks to my three contributors, I am sorry that I am unable to get around now to see such events but the pictures are most pleasing.  

Ross Newman - Ensign

....................... for the month of March 2022.


From Stagecoach Highlands : Volvo B7R’s SP07FCY / SV08DHO     Volvo B12B SV09EGY. 

From Brighton and Hove : Scania YR58RUU. 

From First Essex : Trident LK53EYV. 

From Go Ahead NE : Scania’s NK56KHJ / KKF / KJZ / GJO / KHH / KHL / KHW / KHZ / KKH / KKL. 

From Arriva London :  E400s  LJ59LZD / LZE / LZF / LZG / LZH / LZK / LZL / LZM / LZN / LZO / LYT / LYU / LYV / LYW / LYK / LYO / LYP / LYS / LXP / LXR / LXS / LXT. 

From Go Ahead London : E400s  LX58CWW / LX56ETZ      Volvo B5LHs LX61GXE / GXF.   E200  LX09AYK. 

From Plymouth Citybus : Volvo B7TLs LX54GZD / GZE / GZF. 


Scania YN05HCO : Hardwicks, Barnsley. 

Scania BYZ2386 : Coastal Liner, Wolverhampton. 

Scania YR58RUU : Candy Coaches, Slough. 

Solo GP02DPV : GardBus, Eastleigh. 

Volvo B9TL’s SN09CVF / CVK : Herberts Coaches, Shefford, Beds. 

Volvo B9TLs  SN09CUV / CUH / CUJ / CUW / CUY  : Imperial Coaches, Slough. 

Volvo B9TLs LK59CXF / CXN / FCO : First Devon and Cornwall ( converted to part open top)  

E200 AJ58PZM : Mike Lawrenson, Preston. 

Scania JFZ7006 : Heyfordian, Bicester, Ox.  ex Ulsterbus

Volvo B7RLEs GN07AVK / M  : Ambassador Travel, Great Yarmouth. 

Solos NK54DFC / DEU : Cotswold Green , Gloucester. 

Volvo B9TL’s LK59CWY / CWR : Faresaver, Chippenham. 

E200 GN08CHH : South Eastern Coachworks, Faversham. 

Volvo B7TL’s WU02KVF / LT52WWP : Decker Bus, Southampton. 

E200 LX09AYF  :  HGV Training NW5. 

E400s LJ09CBF / CCE / CAX : First Scotland East (converted to part open top) 

Dart BA52GHA, Galleon Travel, Stansted. 

Dart DG52TYP : Avondale, Glasgow. 

The following all to Shelton Motors for scrap : 


Dart SN03LDU  

Volvo B7TL LK54GZD. 

Volvo B5LH LX61GXF 

E400 LX58CWW    Trident LK53EYV 


Volvo 130 has been painted in special gold livery to celebrate Ensigns 50th anniversary. 

Bucks County Council

Changes to bus services - April 17th 2022

Readers will find a number of changes and this will reflect in the next allocation list from  Arriva the Shires. 

Tony Bungay

I do not know if you have already heard about any of these changes, but it appears Watford/Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe will be seeing changes. As is service 280 which is stated to be Aylesbury – Oxford every 30 mins, with Thame – Oxford being every 15 mins.

Certainly the Hertfordshire C.C Intalink website confirms the Watford/Hemel changes with service 500 going back down to every 30 mins frequency. It seems to me Arriva have gone back to the pre Covid type service, at least on the 280 and the 500.

April 9th 2022

The Airline Oxford Bus Company

Oxford to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports via High Wycombe Coachway: Timetable changes with service increased to every 30 minutes between Oxford and Heathrow Airport, journeys will continue to Gatwick Airport every 2 hours. 

So interesting times ahead with plenty to record. 

Coach visitors to Oxford

David Beynon

David's first 22 plate is this Dunwood Scania YN22YND seen by St Giles on April 5th. 

Jack Cooper

Ellisons  Neoplan RE14ELL seen in St Giles on March 31st.

Scotland & Bates Tourismo BV19YJO looks immaculate in Beaumont Street on March 28th.

Fleet news and developments

Some pictures included from Detling above include a number of Arriva buses.

Jack Cooper

3796 is seen at Oxford Rail Station working the X8 on April 1st. 


Jack Cooper

Looking clean and tidy 20171 is seen in St Giles with a 250 working on March 31st.


I note that the coach below has been acquired via Ensign being new to Ulsterbus. 

JFZ7006 when in service with Ulsterbus as 1006 - picture by Richard Covey

There is an interesting letter from Frank Brown concerning my comments in issue 197 below under Readers Write ,

A new route has appeared worked by Mercedes Sprinter each day, the SS2. Normally 980. 

Jack Cooper 

367 seen at the train station working 13 road on April 2nd.

667 and 669 showing their new spring coats but why are some fleet numbers on the right and some on the left?

Citaro 841 is back from NHS duty and has been running on several routes since returning now seen on March 29th.
I note that 843 is also back !

Citaro 842 seen in its original 4 road livery without branding on March 30th working a 4B.

Jack Cooper 

From Saturday, April 9th, Airline services to Heathrow will be increased to every 30 minutes. From this date services to Gatwick will remain 2 hourly. New timetable can be found here:

Tourismo 33 is seen in nice sunlight in a changeable day heading for Heathrow on April 1st.

Graham Welford

Cymru coaches GO63OXF ex Oxford Airline working Rail Replacement at Oxford Station last week. 

Jack Cooper

632 is seen in St Giles on a nice sunny day - March 28th. 

Jack Cooper

Scania 206 is seen working the 94 in Didcot on March 29th.

StreetLite 442 is seen working various routes in Didcot on March 29th.

A nice clear picture of 454 working its usual route, the X36 in Didcot on March 29th.

StreetDeck 621 records the interworking of routes in Didcot on March 29th.

623 starts it journey to Oxford from Didcot with an X2 on March 29th.

Again on March 29th Citaros 849 and 850 show the placing of fleet numbers.

912 is seen working an X32 in Didcot on March 29th.

After many months at Thames Transit 939 still carries Carousel branding on March29th.

Sister to the bus seen in Stokenchurch working School Service is 942 in full Go-Ahead London livery on March 29th. 

New coaches to record.

BV22VTL Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915133 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTM Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915160 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTN Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915175 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTO Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915178 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTP Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915408 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTT Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915428 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTU Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001915430 Co C59FLt 3/2022 Edwards,Llantrisant
BV22VTW Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001917547 Co C57FLt 3/2022 Edwards Coaches, Bristol
BV22VTX Sca K410EB6 YS2K6X20001917655 Co C57FLt 3/2022 Edwards Coaches, Bristol

Jack Cooper

Arriving from Birmingham, Levante III 275 is seen bound for Heathrow with a 210 service on March 31st.

Jack Cooper

Pulhams Coaches had withdrawn the X8 on Friday 1st April. I did manage a trip on the service before it was withdrawn with a couple of other people. Unfortunately, it is easy to tell why the service has been withdrawn as without us, the bus will have been empty both ways! £4.80 for a return from Chipping Norton - Kingham Station was however very reasonable in my opinion though. 

It also looks like Pulhams are withdrawing a few routes soon, one being the 63 into Oxford. All the services are listed on their website -  

Dave & Deric

Please find our summary of the Period 12 Fleet Card dated April 1st for Stagecoach West. 

Acquired Vehicles   36734-36       West Scotland          to         Cheltenham

                              36737/38       West Scotland          to         Swindon 

To Reserve           18087             North Bristol             to         Reserve

                            27553/54       Gloucester                 to         Reserve

                            34564             Swindon                    to         Reserve

                            34590             Stroud                      to         Reserve

                            47688             Cheltenham              to         Reserve

 For Disposal       18445             Swindon                    to         Disposal

                            19128             Stroud                        to         Disposal

                            27517             Reserve                     to         Disposal

                            34597             Swindon                    to         Disposal

                            34618             Swindon                    to         Disposal

                           34785/88       Gloucester                 to         Disposal

                           47549             Reserve                     to         Disposal

                           47552/57/58  Reserve                     to         Disposal

                           59307             Reserve                     to         Disposal    (this is the coach your Editor took from Oxford to West Ham some years ago whilst being recovered from a Megabus sleeper service.)

Robert Homan

36734 in service in Cheltenham on 1 April. It doesn't show on Bustimes and is given as allocated to Ayr.
As the picture shows it still had "Western" fleet names.

Please find our summary of the Period 12 Fleet Card dated 1st April for Stagecoach West.

We’ve picked up the following changes to the Stagecoach Oxford fleet:

To Reserve                28744/45       Banbury                     to         Reserve   (both these buses have been used in service on the S4 as recently as today, April 5th.)

                                 50233             Oxford                     to          Reserve 

Jack Cooper 

Entering Oxford along St Giles we see MMCs 10669, 10683 and 11246 on March 31st.

On March 31st , as today April 5th Gold 28744 is working the S4 from Oxford to Banbury.

E200 36766 is seen working the 489 in Chipping Norton on March 29th.

Later E200 36981 is seen in St Giles with a 14 service on March 31st.

Jack Cooper

Here MMC 10874 is seen with an X5 on a very sunny March 31st.


Gary Seamarks

Two days in one here, Northampton (Trident town) on Friday 1/4 and Detling the following day. Both were cold, but Northampton also delivered a snow shower.

Ex West Gold 15523 working the 1 and 15525 working the 88 to Silverstone.

18152, 18158 and 18199 seen hard at work in Northampton.

Jack Cooper

Scania 15676 is seen working  the 50 in Chipping Norton on March 29th. 

Sadly 50272 is off the road due to an incident but 5074 has appeared now on   

Jack Cooper

The Hull Monty working the M34 and heading for Gloucester Green on March 31st. 

Gary Seamarks

from Northampton

Working service 21, uno 285 is seen on April 1st.

London operators

Andrew Webb

Ovo Energy has wrapped five electric double deckers into this green scheme to promote the company. 

Two RATP buses display the advert on the two types of electric double decker currently plying the capital's streets. 

ADL/BYD BCE47025 pauses in Oxford Street, whilst Optare Metrodecker OE34035 awaits departure time at Clapham Junction.

Fenty Beauty is advertising a new lipstick with this advert, currently carried on two New Routemasters. 

Metroline's LT552 shows differing images on both sides of the bus at Victoria. 

Also at Victoria is Abellio's LT163, freshly wrapped in an advert for a collaboration between Calvin Klein and Palace,
the latter being well known to skate boarders.

My thanks to Andrew for these excellent pictures.

Andrew Dyer

Michael Wadman's excellent series of pictures from Cheltenham District Buses (there's no '&' by the way!) brings back so many memories as I was District Manager for Cheltenham from 1984-90 and then one of the company's Directors from 1991-97. 

Attached another picture from that era showing a young me in between Leading Driver Phillip Bird and Controller the late Gary Read launching the new "Metro" Minibus network in October 1985. C633 SFH was the first of a batch of 16 Ford Transits for the initial Cheltenham minibus network and the photo is taken in Bradley Road, Cheltenham. They were amazingly tough and cheap to run little machines. Everyone thought they'd be dead within five years, but most gave 12 or 13 years good service with C&G.

Michael Wadman

More from Michael showing Cheltenham & Gloucester days in the '90s.

Bristol VR JOU160P in Bath on March 20th 1999.

Ex Manchester 818 now 418 with C&G in Gloucester on August 11th 1999.

Working for National Expres, C&G 553 seen at Elizabeth Bridge on August 30th 1998.

At a later time C637SFH is seen in Cheltenham on June 21st 1997.

C&G 732 is seen at Cribbs Causeway on January 5th  1999.

Seen in Cheltenham 927 is a Dennis/ALX200 on August 11th 1999.

Follow up for item on route 101 in issue 197

Gavin Francis

.... Gavin provided some pictures of the buses mentioned in issue 197. 

RMC 1461 as it was in Green Line livery - April 30th 2014.

RT4188 when in London service in 1973 and 1976.

4188 when in Canada on June 23rd 2004 by Paul Bateson.

GAL WVL239 working the 127 on August 17th 2016.

Frank Brown

To clarify recent reports re Carousel’s ex Konectbus blue Link40 dedicated Citaros:-  886/7 (HF55JYZ/JZE) were removed from the overspill yard by PVS Barnsley during March. Similar 885 (HF55JYY) has been stripped for spares having never turned a wheel with Carousel and is out of general view in the back of the garage. 884 (HF55JYX) was a fire victim last April – scrapped. Two further Konectbus Citaros (426/9 HF55JZD/JZJ)) arrived last July but have never entered service (spares donors), these are the two visible through the garage doors and along with 885 are likely to be removed for scrap in the near future.  Link40 journeys are now red vehicles, interworked with routes 1/39. 

I must thank Frank for that clarification which is most useful.

Grahame Wareham replies to Michael Wadman in issue 197 - Issue 197 - Readers Write

I can confirm that LS Travel (FSU637) purchased former Scania coach 15 LF61OXF. Due to an error with the fixing of the VIN identification plates at Plaxton, 11 LF61OXF & 15 RF61OXF swapped fleet numbers in 1/2013, becoming 11 RF61OXF & 15 LF61OXF. Of course just to complicate matters further 15 became 44 and was repainted white, which is the giveaway in the picture of LS Travel's coach as the air-con pod is white.

11 RF61OXF became 82 and was painted into X90 grey livery, including the air-con pod. This vehicle has yet to surface with a new operator and is currently SORNed, whilst the registration for LF61OXF doesn't exist bur FSU637 does so that is another way of confirmation.

Peter Cartwright

Once again an interesting page today but I think one of the captions ins incorrect. Leyland National 147 is quoted as being in the Cressex area of High Wycombe.  The scene to me looks like the Lane End Road junction with Hillbottom Road in Sands which is some way from Cressex which was not served by the 338. 

Neil responds

Peter is absolutely correct, the picture is taken from my former workplace in Hillbottom Road, Sands. I don’t what possessed me to call it Cressex. Please thank Peter for me!

Neil Gow

Very interested to see LX06 DZY now identified with Harlequin Travel. Here’s a picture I took of it on the 683 at Stokenchurch today and in the high-res version you can clearly read Chiltern Automotive legal lettering on the side. Chiltern Automotive have also taken over HCC contracted service 318 in Watford (the ex Chiltern Bus Solo MX58 AAJ is usually used), but I’ve also seen Harlequin Travel mentioned as the operator there. I wonder if Harlequin Travel is another name they are using?

There is of course already a company called Harlequin Travel, who have operating centres at Wycombe Air Park and Binders Industrial Estate, but up to now they have only operated coaches.

Derek Taylor

Couple of pictures taken April 3rd from the Rail Replacement to Beaconsfield whole service provided by HCT single decks from Hackney.  

David Ive

I hope that you are well. Last week, during the wonderful weather, we went up to the Peak district for a few days. I was mainly photographing Railway subjects, in particular the stone trains around the Buxton area. 

However, there was one bus I wanted to photograph, due to its unique and attractive livery, and, thanks to, I managed to find it. See attached photo. 

First Sheffield 37494, a Wright Eclipse Gemini/Volvo B9TL, is branded in "Peak Link" livery for Route 272
 from Sheffield to Castleton in the Hope Valley. The photo shows it passing through Hope village. 

I hope that it may be of use to you. Keep up the good work with the website.

Jack Cooper

in Portsmouth on March 26th.

First E400 33896 working a Park & Ride service.

First StreetLites on local services.

First E20 MMCs 67278 and 67283 working STAR branded routes.

Levante III X551155 (that a long number !) with an 030 to Fareham.

Stagecoach South 26146 with a 23 and 26152 with a 21 branded for Portsmouth!

E300's 27865, 27867 and 27874 which work local routes in Portsmouth.

James Freeman

My flickr album of coaches on my trip to Plymouth on the April 2nd 2022 .

Graham Kiddle

There are some more new galleries from visits this week, they are a bit outside the area but hopefully of some interest.

Many thanks to these contributors.